15 Words or Less

No, not a description of this post. “15 words or less” is a tool I use with clients, whether they’re children, teens, or adults. This tool comes in handy when people are upset or overwhelmed because their attention span wanes, and their ability to absorb and comprehend what’s being said tends to lessen when the brain is already, you guessed it, overwhelmed and overstimulated. It’s natural for most of us to become frustrated ourselves and blurt out in rapid succession, lots and lots of words at each other, but especially children and teens, to get our point across and the other person back in gear. However, that does little more than exacerbate the problem, and create a cycle of anger and frustration that’s difficult to stop.

So how do you stop the anger/frustration cycle? 15 words or less. If you need to use more than 15 words, take a literal minute to stop, breathe, and then use 15 more words. Repeat this until the point has been made. But also use the stops as a moment of reflection – are all of those words ACTUALLY needed, or are you merely trying to be right and make the other person wrong in the situation?

Your homework is to practice this in conversations, to make it more natural when dealing with another person that’s overwhelmed, angry, or frustrated.

Until next time, keep up the good work!

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